This weekend thousands of advocates for the wildly misnamed "Fair Tax" are expected to descend on Columbia, Missouri and hear from the likes of Neal Boortz and Joe Wurzelbacher, better known as "Joe the Plumber." We don't expect that this rally will inform Missourians that the proposal to eliminate corporate and individual income taxes and replace that revenue with sales taxes is likely to raise taxes on the poorest 95 percent of Missourians. Nor are attendees likely to learn that the sales tax rate necessary to make this a revenue neutral change isn't 5.11 percent (as often claimed), but a combined state and local tax rate of 12.5 percent.
Organizers of events like this have a difficult time acknowledging the real impact of the "Fair Tax" and instead focus on "simplicity" and the theoretical fairness of a sales tax. Luckily the press has delved a bit deeper into the issue and are pointing out the flaws in their proposal. For more on Missouri's so-called "Fair Tax" proposal, read ITEP's report.